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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 29202
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I have a building regulations issue with my property but i

Customer Question

i have a building regulations issue with my property but i am looking to remortgage next year. i'm unable to get indemnity insurance as the issue was disclosed to my council. does this mean i have to get the building regulations issues corrected before i try to remortgage?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: so my solicitor stupidly advised me to contact my council and request a regularisation application which hasnt been started but is logged on the wesbite which means i cant get indemnity cover now, i havent spoken to my bank about remortgaging yet though no
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: north east london
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: im not sure really, what else might be helpful to know?
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years’ experience. Please be aware that although I will endeavour to reply to you promptly, I am also in full time private practice and so I may not be available to respond immediately and it may also take me a few minutes to prepare a reply. The site will notify you as soon as I respond. I look forward to working with you to answer your question fully.

  1. May I ask roughly how long ago the work in question was completed please?
  2. do you know with which lender you may consider remortgaging with?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
The work was carried out in 2016 before I purchased the property in 2018. It wasn't surfaced on the conveyancing or by the surveyor. I asked a solicitor to look into the issue though to see if the previous owners could be liable to pay for the remedial works, but she felt that it would be nearly impossible to make them liable, nor my conveyancers who covered themselves very well. My current lender is barclays but i would be open to moving lenders
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

thank you. Based upon what you say, there should not be an obstacle to a remortgage or indeed future sale providing the work itself is not a risk to the building. Building regulations can only be enforced for a period of 12 months from the date of completion by the local authority unless the local authority can show that the work in question is dangerous.

The solicitors are required to comply with the rules set out in the lenders Handbook and I am including a link to the same below. In particular, you will want to look at section 5.5.

If you were to look at the same, you will note that it provides as follows (remember this is written to the instructed solicitor not you as the customer - ie. this is what the solicitor must do):

If there is evidence of such a breach or matter but in your professional judgment there is no reasonable prospect of enforcement action and, following reasonable enquiries, you are satisfied that the title is good and marketable and you can provide an unqualified certificate of title, we will not insist on indemnity insurance and you may proceed.

accordingly, the solicitor may want to satisfy themselves that the work in question is not likely to be dangerous and therefore may request evidence that it was completed by an registered or insured builder or that a surveyor has at some point in the past inspected the work under a building survey but subject to this, providing the solicitor is satisfied that the work is not likely to be dangerous, given what we discussed above, building regulations cannot be enforced after a period of 12 months and accordingly, there is no requirement to provide indemnity insurance.

in terms of any future remortgage, in the assumption the solicitors are not appointed by the bank as some form of product incentive which pays for legal costs, it would be sensible when appointing a solicitor to highlight this issue before instructing them and checking how the solicitor would approach the matter. Essentially there is only likely to be an issue if the solicitor in question decides to make an issue of it. Accordingly you would ideally look to appoint a pragmatic solicitor pf which most (but not all) are.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
thank you. Just to clarify a few things then to make sure i'm crystal clear.- Building regulations can only be enforced for a period of 12 months from the date of completion: does the date of completion in this instance mean 2016 when the work was carried out or?
- what is defined as dangerous here? The building in question which is a small room on the ground floor looks to have wooden cladding and i would be surprised if that meets fire regulations. that section of the property is enclosed within my neighbours courtyard so the access is nearly impossible for even me the property owner. i've only seen it a few times and have limited understanding of its construction.
- is that passage from Barclays lenders handbook? Are they essentially saying then that the solicitor should make a judgement call as to whether the searches against the property will prohibit it from being resold etc?
- to clarify, might a solicitor from the bank take a different, more stringent approach to this? would you recommend i instruct my own solicitor even if barclays were to offer theirs?
Thank you again for your help
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

the completion date is when the works are substantially completed. Historically, this would typically be evidenced by the rendering and payment of the builders final invoice. It is for the local authority to prove that a structure is dangerous but in general terms, they must show that the building is unsafe or a danger to the occupants or other parties. This is quite different to considerations of quality of workmanship or compliance with specific regulations

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Okay, so am i right in saying that the local council cant force me to change the build to meet building regulations, as its been longer than 12 months since completion? therefore i dont need to rectify the build or get indemnity insurance in order to remortgage? unless the solicitor makes an issue of it?
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

They would need to show that the work is dangerous in order to enforce further than 12 months after completion of works. Indemnity insurance can be a helpful reassuring cushion for mortgage lenders and buyers but there is a reason building regulation indemnity insurance policies are so cheap - they are rarely paid out

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
okay thank you for your help i really appreciate it
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

I'm glad the above answers all your questions. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me otherwise thank you very much for visiting JustAnswer and I hope we will see you again in the future.